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Phoenix (she/her)

I have encountered access issues just trying to physically gain access to my GP surgery. The GP provided in my local town offers 2 disabled parking bays outside. However, neither bay is for wheelchair use, and so does not have the space next to them to be able to get into/out of the car into a wheelchair.

I am Phoenix (she/her), and I am a 41-year-old trans woman. I live with a comorbidity of conditions which culminate in being physically disabled. I am a full-time wheelchair user, I have access to an adapted vehicle. My hobbies are online gaming, socialising, trans activism and spending time in the garden.

I have faced many barriers in accessing healthcare over time. Much of this has been via the NHS, and some via private healthcare.

Phoenix, who is a woman with mid length blonde hair

I have encountered access issues just trying to physically gain access to my GP surgery. The GP provided in my local town offers 2 disabled parking bays outside. However, neither bay is for wheelchair use, and so does not have the space next to them to be able to get into/out of the car into a wheelchair. I knew they had limited trans health care experience as well. I realised I had to find a new, accessible GP to overcome these issues.

I changed GP surgery to a health centre that is 5 miles further away but offers local nearby parking where the use of the disability badge is possible. After visiting, I did some research to gain information. I discovered they had better knowledge of dealing with trans patients, and what that may entail. Parking is street-side, this is often also full due to the limited number of places and proximity to the busy shopping centre. It is pot luck whether, once I arrive, I will be able to park, transfer to my wheelchair, and head into the GP health centre at all. This was a risk worth taking for the confidence I felt in them moving forwards with my trans specific healthcare needs.

I was originally part of the many years long queue for accessing the GIC. However, I am extremely lucky to have been included as part of a pilot scheme for gender identity services. The clinic that I am in is simply outstanding. The staff and the service are absolutely brilliant, and, from the very beginning, I have felt listened to, heard, and dealt with in the very best ways.

It is, however, based an hour away by car. This would increase up to anything near the 2 or 3 hour mark if done by public transport (with wheelchair access). Once again, the clinic itself does not have disabled parking, and so I have to use a local multi story car park. This has only ONE disabled bay, and charges approximately £4 an hour. It is then a draining and painful manoeuvre to get through the local busy streets, across a major city road, and up and down the steep inclines to reach the clinic. Although this makes the process long, tiring, painful, costly, and has a long knock-on effect, it is essential for advancing forwards with my trans healthcare needs, due to the lack of any local services.